Brock Netter, Staff Writer
CHILLICOTHE — Simply put, Chillicothe Post 757 had Waverly Post 142’s number this season.
After losing its opening tournament game against Portsmouth Post 23, Post 757 knew it’d have to dig deep to win four straight games and capture the Region V championship.
So that’s exactly what the Colts (26-15) did.
Thanks to an 8-7 win over Waverly on Tuesday, the Colts secured a winner-take-all contest on Wednesday as they climbed out of the loser’s bracket.
When the two clashed again on Wednesday, the same result emerged as 757 defeated the Shockers — for the sixth time this summer — by an 11-8 final to win the title.
“This is such a gritty, tight-knit group of kid we had this year,” Post 757 coach Tom Barr said. “We only had three kids from last year’s senior team come back, and sometimes you could go through a whole summer with a team that just doesn’t blend together. But these guys were completely together by the second week of the season. These guys had a ton of fun playing and hanging out with one another, and I think that’s a huge reason why we had the success that we did.”
Even though there were 23 combined hits — 14 for Chillicothe, nine for Waverly — the final two innings of the game belonged to 757’s Bryce McWhorter on the mound.
Coming in for relief of starter Lucas Fogelsong in the top of the fifth inning, and in a 7-7 tie ballgame, McWhorter had a code that Waverly couldn’t crack.
He threw 2 1/3 innings without surrendering a hit, walked two batters and logged a strikeout to earn the win.
“We had him for relief on Tuesday, but ended up not throwing him. So for him to come back the next day mentally ready for whatever situation is huge,” Barr said. “I’ve lost a lot of games making changes and kids didn’t get the job done, but our pitching coach Seth Wright told me to just let him go because Bryce would get it done. I trust Seth and Bryce, and it worked out for us.”
Post 142 (14-11) wasted no time jumping on the board first when Lane Mettler belted a three-run homer to give the Shockers an early 3-0 lead.
Chillicothe countered with an RBI single off the bat of Nick Salyer, followed by a solo home run to left field from Drew Seymour, trimming the lead to 3-2 in the bottom of the second.
“The count got to 3-2 and I was just looking for a pitch to put in play,” Seymour said. “I got a good pitch, trusted my hands and let the bat do the work for me.”
After Waverly added a run thanks to a fielding error in the top of the third, 757’s Lane Larson ripped an RBI single through the left side for a 4-3 game.
The Colts managed to juice the bases later that inning, and Ryan Schwartz unloaded a bases-clearing triple into a wide open right field gap that gave the Colts their first lead of the game. Seymour then logged an RBI single to center, scoring Schwartz and pushing the lead to 7-4.
“The whole game, [Waverly] was pitching me outside and I struggled through the first two at-bats,” Schwartz said. “Their right fielder was playing 100 feet out of position almost in center field, so I took the pitch and hit it where he wasn’t.”
However, Waverly managed to repossess momentum with a sacrifice fly from Kannon Pack, a passed ball that scored Weston Roop and an RBI double off the bat of Easton Lansing to tie the game, 7-7.
However, Larson quickly notched an RBI double, followed by an RBI single from Salyer for a 9-7 lead, and the Colts never trailed again.
The two then traded runs off passed balls before Larson gave the Colts much-needed insurance with an RBI single late in the game.
“I was just going with the flow honestly,” Larson said. “This was my first time ever hitting leadoff and I’m not much of a pitch-watching type of guy. I like to attack the first pitch and I kept that approach all game. If I saw a pitch I liked, I went for it.”
Larson finished the game 3-for-5 with three RBIs, followed by Schwartz’s 2-for-4 outing with three RBIs. Seymour had a home run and two RBIs, while Salyer collected three hits and a pair of RBIs.
For Waverly, Mettler finished with a home run, a double and three RBIs, while Lansing and Pack had an RBI each.
The contest almost finalizes the summer season as Post 757 looks to end its year with an exclamation point. The Colts have two doubleheaders scheduled with Lancaster Post 11 before calling it quits.
“Every guy wants to beat Waverly. It’s been like that ever since I started playing legion ball,” Larson said. “It’s great to have them in the championship, and even better to get the victory over them.”